About Me

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I have spent a great deal of my life battling illness. I suffered from Crohn's Disease and eventually had abdominal surgery, thwarting the Crohn's and budding cancer cells. Since my surgery in 1995 I have been relatively free from Crohns', although I had several subsequent surgeries related to my ileostomy..When my disease was in remission, I don't think my husband realized how bad it could get, but he has stood by me. I also have suffered from various autoimmune disorders and am diagnosed with Stage IV Kidney Disease. Fortunately, I am maintaining and do not need dialysis at this point. We adopted our son and later found out he had cerebral palsy, so he became my career. Dan has had two surgeries and tons of therapy and is able to walk because of it. He is a college graduate and is employed as an Information Specialist. We are very proud of his accomplishements. I am now part of the retired generation and still getting used to the idea. I do enjoy crafting, traveling and being with family and friends. I am active in my church and feel that the hardships we endure are there to build our faith. I like to live life in the "now" as we never know how much time is left.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

I CHOOSE JOY

Well, it's a new year!  Where do I start?  I start with the memorial service of my dear friend,  Linda.

It was a beautiful service.  The pastor really touched upon all the points about her faith that Linda wanted to share with her family.  He also shared how creative and how full of fun she was.  Of course, I cried, but it was kind of off and on, as it was with her family.

Last Fall, when I was having a hard time knowing how to "be" with Linda and her cancer, we went to a women's faith retreat. That weekend, I think Linda and I were both trying to come to grips with her cancer in different ways, and for different reasons.  She retreated into herself, and I sought support from others.   I just couldn't be there emotionally for her. 

Linda had become very critical of me, and that is why I kept my distance for a time, but one day I realized it didn't matter.  THIS wasn't Linda.  It was her anger at the cancer, or the chemo, that was making her so snarky towards me, and I would just ignore it.  I will never know if it was me, or the chemo, or the cancer.  I will never know if she was intentionally pushing me away, or if I was trying to withdraw emotionally.  At some point, it didn't matter.   I emailed her and told her that I loved her for 26 years and I was always going to love her.  She told me she loved me too.  (I'm saving that email)  We got together a couple of times, and when it started to look like it was the beginning of the end, we both told each other we were sorry for hurting one another and held each other and cried.  Again, I told her that I loved her and she would always be my best friend. 

So, it's a new year, and I must go on.  Linda told me that I had to go on without her.  She knew me, just as she knew how my body responded to the stress of her cancer.  Both she and her husband didn't want me to get sick again.  I did what I could, but feel it was never enough.

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So, I go on.  I am having physical therapy this week for bursitis in my left hip.  I am meeting a new friend and my sister for lunch on Thursday.  I am back to blogging.  I have made a new friend through Linda's blog and cancer support group.  Last Fall at the retreat I became closer to another woman who invited me to go along with her to another retreat in February!  (more about that, in February.)  At the end of the month, my sister and I are getting on the bus to see Dwight Yoakam
at a casino up north.

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So, I go on, and I choose joy!


I bought this from someone who has her own Bible Journaling group and stamp shop. Korin Sutherland also has a shop on etsy  When I saw this, I had to have it.  2016 was not the best year for me.

Next week Bible Study starts up again!  I have been trying on my own, but I love to meet with the ladies!

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Hope my post wasn't too depressing.  A blessed New Year to all my readers!

Friday, December 23, 2016

You'll Always be My Friend

I wasn't quite ready to write this.
My dear friend of 26 years has left this world.  Several times she had heavenly visions.
Even her husband, who has not always been the most spiritual person, saw an
apparition bending over her bed.  When he got up to look there was no one there; no one in the hallway.

Linda's husband Kevin, took very good care of her.  When he had to work, he made sure that one of her friends was with her over lunch time till she was ready to rest again.  When he had off, he was there from morning till night.

Last week Friday, she took a turn for the worse.  Kevin was called from work.  He stayed with her
all the time, even overnight, barely sleeping but went home a few times to shower and get fresh clothes. 

Kevin had told me that the time was close for Linda. I had not been there since last week Tuesday, but on Tuesday the 20th, I asked my husband to go with me to the nursing home.  Jim is also Kevin's friend. I thought it would bother me, but it didn't.  She was resting and at peace.

 I held her hand while I was there.  Kevin and Jim talked about everything under the sun.  I think it did Kevin some good.  We stayed a few hours, so Kevin, too, could rest.  Later on his sister and her husband came to keep him company.

I received a call later that night.  Linda had passed around 8:30pm.  I have been crying off and on, but I have been in mourning over our loss for a long time.  That is the thing with cancer.  The person you once knew is not the same anymore, but somewhere in that frail, failing body, was my Linda!

Oh sure, we had our misunderstandings, but the important thing is that we always made up and in the end we had resolved any hurts, holding on to one another and vowing to always be friends.

I prefer to remember the strong, laughing Linda!  Memories of our walks, going to Bible Study together, sitting next to each other in church, road trips, retreats, stamping, scrapbooking, thrifting, so many adventures!

Even with the chemo, Linda loved to sit on her deck and enjoy the sunshine.
Now she basks in the light of our Lord!

Linda, I love you!  You'll always be my friend!


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Some Memories of Linda

I had to write this while I am still calm.  Some are excerpts from my posts in Facebook.

My relationship with my best friend goes on for 26 years. Linda's husband, Kevin, was married to my younger sister who passed away from metastatic cancer. I didn't want to like Linda, but for the sake of Kevin's kids, we would make the best of it. We had things in common and became good friends. We were ying and yang in our personalities, but yet, complemented one another. We have had our ups and downs, our rough spots, but like many relationships, we have always managed to get beyond them. Many times Linda has been there for me through my illnesses, and now I can only do my best to be there for her.

I wish I could go all the way back to Linda and Kevin's wedding (but where ARE those photos?).  All pre-computer, and all in boxes and a mess!

In 1995, I had abdominal surgery.  Linda was
my sub for me when I had it so I could keep my
thriving Avon business going!  Here we are
enjoying a pontoon ride after one of our Avon
dinners.

In 1995, Linda decided that we should have a Red Hat
group and I should be queen of
The Royal Purple Belles!

We enjoyed our trips to Florida to visit cousin,Shirley.
This time my sister came with, and we enjoyed a
tour with our cousin's Red Hat Group!


We enjoyed traveling and loved our trip to New Orleans!


Linda invited me along to meet up with her friend
from Ohio.  This was shortly after her
breast cancer treatment.


Her hair grew out a beautiful blond with a hint of red. 
I was invited to her oldest grand daughter's confirmation.

Celebrating one year cancer free with the Cancer Survivor's walk.


Celebrating together with her other good friend
at her wedding anniversary!

                       
Linda wanted an ugly sweater contest for our
Christmas party last year.  Of course, she knew
she would win!

We enjoyed going on retreats together, whether it was
a spiritual retreat or a crafting retreat.  This was our
last trip together in September.


Friends Forever


I can feel the love and prayers of others. Linda is ready to meet her Savior and I'm at peace with that. She wants me to think of the good times. I am still sad cause I will miss her when she is gone, but I know I will see her again and she will have that glorious smile in heaven!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Life is Like a Bad Dream

I tried going to Silver Sneakers, our exercise class at the Senior Center, but it is difficult to go without Linda.  Also, I need the time for her or for myself when I am not with her.

On November 4th, Linda, my sister, and me went out to lunch.  Linda was having trouble with her balance, but if she walked slowly, she could do it.  A little over a week later, everything was different. We had a nice visit, although she could no longer be trusted to walk on her own.  It was good.  We held each other and cried.  Said we would always be friends.  The next day some of her grandkids came to visit, and that, too, was an eye opener for them.  Still, it was a nice visit, and the kids were glad to see Grandma, and she, them.

 She had fallen twice, the last time ending up with her in the hospital.  She had just gone limp in her husband's arms, and he called the ambulance.  That was in the wee hours of
November 15th.  Her husband called me that morning.  She stayed in the hospital until that Friday and began her radiation treatments.

On Friday she was moved to a group home.  On Kevin's days off, he is with her from about 9:30 till bedtime.  I have been there most days.  She always has a friend or relative accompanying her in the van to radiation near the hospital.  We stay until after she has eaten lunch.
She no longer goes on her phone or laptop.  Mostly she just rests.

The goal for Linda is to stay strong enough to be able to go home on Christmas Day.

My Thanksgiving was a lot of work, and hardly seems worth it for the few of us.  I did have my nephew, Linda's stepson, here for the meal.

I do not feel like crafting, like making cards, like socializing.  I want to crawl in bed and have this all be over with.   It is like a really bad dream from which we cannot wake up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hard for Me to Blog

I don't feel like uploading photos.
 
I am so tired.
 
My best friend, Linda, is in the hospital.  In one week's time, she lost her ability to walk on her own and has difficulty speaking.  I saw her Saturday (and Sunday) and I was in shock.  I can't tell you how many tears I cried.
 
We each forgave one another for the hurts we caused ..  Said that is behind us.  We held each other, cried and promised we would always be friends.
 
This last week, Linda fell out of bed, then Monday night had a horrible episode where she went limp, passed out, and possible seizure.  Her husband called the ambulance.  She went to ER and was admitted to the hospital.  I spent most of the day there.
 
Today she is starting radiation.  Hopefully it can reverse some of the damage to her brain, buy her more time to be spent with her loved ones.  She is fighting this for her grandkids.
 
Much has happened since my last blog.  I went on a scrapbooking retreat with my cousin as she was visiting me from Florida.  Everything seems like small potatoes now.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

And That's All that's New!

 
This was just another week in my life. 
 
On Monday, I ran some errands.  I had to pick up plastic rolls of table cloth and napkins for our church's Golden Anniversary.  When I dropped them off at church, I had a brief interview with the paper for the article they were doing on the event.  You can read about it here:  Shepherding the Flock for 50 Years.  I have a small blip in there.
 
 I am really enjoying my Tuesday morning Bible Study with the ladies!  In the afternoon, I had an appointment with our local gastroenterologist.  He wants me off of the pain pills and we are going to try a medication that blocks the neurotransmitters.  I'm not quite sure how it works, but if it helps, hey!
 
Wednesday was a busy day for my husband and me.  I decided that before my cousin visits, I am going to get this house fairly cleaned.  I cleaned the bedroom GOOD and removed the five layers of protective dust.  My husband put on his knee pads and refinished all our vinyl  flooring in the kitchen, dining room, and halls.
 
Thursday morning I volunteered at the senior center.  It wasn't as busy as it has been lately.  Okay with me!  In the afternoon I met my brother Stan and his wife at his urologist appointment.  I wanted to know what exactly is wrong with him.  He has lost so much weight; he is skin and bones.  He had no appetite, can't sleep, and was also experiencing urological symptoms.  Apparently, his last bout with cancer and radiation damaged his bladder and created a lot of scar tissue too.  The bladder has shrunk and cannot be stretched as the tissue has hardened from the radiation.  He has to get up all the time to void and had little to pass.  My brother also wasn't drinking enough liquids as the doctor had advised him to.    The physician explained it like this:  A car needs oil to run properly.  Water is our oil.  If my brother would drink more liquids (anything decaffeinated), he would not be so constipated, would have more energy, a better appetite, and when he goes to pee, he will have something to pee!  After the first day of drinking more fluids, Stan said at least when he went to the bathroom, he had something to go.  The doctor said this will take weeks and also prescribed him a different medication for it.
1980 - Stan walked me down the aisle.
 
2015 - Cousin Shirley, Stan, myself, and sister, Connie.
 















On Friday we went to one of our last remaining aunt's funeral. When we left home it was sunny and comfortable outside, but when we got to the country, it had dropped about ten degrees and was so windy. (Auntie Em, Auntie Em!)   My aunt had one daughter and one son, both married, both without children.  It was a small funeral, and other than my cousin's son who is in his 40's, I was the baby of the bunch! 

The country church is over 100 years old and is small but oh so ornate and beautiful!  I took a couple of pictures for ideas for our church.

  We stopped where my mom is buried for a brief time.  It was still quite windy.  We then went to the  funeral luncheon at a nearby supper club.  It was nice visiting with our cousins, but a heck of a way to have a family reunion!

Today, Saturday, I have to go to church to help set up for anniversary dinner.  It is also Apple Fest in Two Rivers.  I would like to go briefly, but we'll see.  I wanted Jim to go with me, but he has a hard route this weekend at work.

....and that's all that's new!
 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

No Place to Rest!

 
 
I'm sorry I haven't posted lately.  Last weekend I went on retreat with my bff.
It was a three hour drive (but of course, we stopped for lunch).  As usual, I woke up way too early that day and also didn't get a nap because of the drive.  My friend had a very bad cough (on top of her cancer), and was trying to rest.  She was chilled, so I thought I will let her rest.  I went to check us in at registration, and they gave me my own room, so we both would get some rest.  Some friends I had made last year helped move my stuff down the hall. 
 
That night I did not get a good night's sleep.  I didn't know if it was my interstitial cystitis or what, but I got up at least five times to go to the bathroom which is down the hall.  Not a good start!  Again, I woke up way too early.  We are eating breakfast by 8am and getting on with the day's activities which include Bible Study, worship, crafts, etc.  The study was about visual faith, and Bible journaling....how even when we highlight our Bible, we are making it visual.  We might make notes in the margins, date it, or get more elaborate and draw a picture of what the verse means to us.
 
Psalm 121
Add caption
 Well, I did these quite a while ago.  I was busy with our church scrapbook, and didn't realize that I don't have to be elaborate to do my Bible journaling!
 
Anyway, I regress.  I was having a very emotional, weepy time of it.  I really think I was overtired, but it was also the retreat center itself. I kept thinking of times when my friend and I were both more vibrant and energetic, without all our medical problems.  Different people reached out to her, and different people reached out to me.  We really weren't there for each other, but that's okay.  Sometimes you have to let other people into your life. 
 
We had a craft that was just totally frustrating for me and I never finished it.  Next, I went horseback riding.
 

Nervous.

It was not a good experience.  The horse kept taking me up against the trees, and when we got back, I had difficulty dismounting.   The horse decided it had enough of me!  (No one was hurt in the process, although I still have a bruise.

Then, I bumped my head on the top bunk.  Rough day.  Weepy.  We did a study on The Lord's Prayer with stations for different parts of it.  I tried to do most of it, but finished it in my room.  I just needed solitude.  I know it's hard to believe, but sometimes I need alone time!  I finished the study, got ready for bed, played on my Kindle, read and had a GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP!

Sunday morning I felt like my old self again! 


 
Newer friends

 
Old friends.

We drove home in the rain, but God was good and kept me safe.  It even quit raining before I got to the busy part of the freeway!

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Always good to be home.  The bladder issue got worse and for now I am on antibiotics.  The abdominal pain is at times, just awful.  I will find out on Monday if I need further treatment for IC and on Tuesday will see another gastroenterologist for my abdominal pain.